UnNews:Solar-powered plane headed for Ohio

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Solar-powered plane headed for Ohio

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21 May 2016

Solar Impulse Moffett

The Solar Impulse 2 lands at Moffett AFB. Piloting is made simpler by the fact that, when the landing lights are switched on, descent is automatic.

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Solar Impulse 2 has left Tulsa International Airport and is on its way to Ohio, the latest leg in its around-the-world trip to show the feasibility of commercial air travel powered by nothing but the sun.

The plane arrived here on May 13, departing Phoenix Goodyear Airport at 3 a.m. and landing 20 hours later. The flight was expected to take 18 hours, but a two-hour delay is no big deal, as the Transportation Security Agency has begun advising Americans that staffing issues regarding their mandatory pat-downs will require them to arrive at the airport three hours early to catch their 3 a.m. flights. Congress is currently meeting to decide whether it is more urgent to throw more money at the TSA than at bankrupt Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, the single passenger, hapless token salesman Clivus Multrum, arrived late for his meeting, a date with a farm-products distributor here at which Mr. Multrum was to present his company's cattle antibiotics. He must now wait for the next solar-powered flight back to Phoenix.

The globe-circling flight began in March 2015 from Yabba Dabba Doo, Arabia, and made stops in popular tourist destinations Oman and Myanmar. Its ideal flight speed is 28 mph, though that can double to a non-ideal 56 mph if the sun happens to be out. Unfortunately, the sun was not out on the leg from Japan to Hawaii and the plane had to lay over for nine months as the tons of batteries fused into a solid blob of scrap metal. However, the project's promoters say that "involuntary misconnections" are a staple of air travel, and Hawaii is a damned fine place to be trapped. The layover gave the two Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, a chance to exchange seats and promote the project among local spectators although, as previously reported, they spent most of the delay squabbling about the flight plan.

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Pilot describes Solar Impulse mission as “very groovy”

The vessel's sprawling wings mean that, even at the nation's largest runways, it scrapes the siding of homes in adjacent subdivisions, and its 17,000 solar panels are assembled in the Philippines with its notoriously lax pollution and child labor laws. But the important thing is that, like a shiny new Prius, it emits absolutely no pollution during its sporadic moments of operation, that is visible to the owner.

The Solar Impulse 2 will make one more stop in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for Europe, where they are more enthused about the real-world potential for "renewable energy" — though project sponsors say it might land in Northern Africa instead.

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